Shelly Yachimovich and Isaac Herzog watch election ads 370.
(photo credit: Shai Skiff)
The Labor Party’s internal court rejected claims by challenger MK Isaac Herzog on Thursday that polling stations in the November 21 primary were being situated to help incumbent party leader Shelly Yacimovich.
Herzog had accused Yacimovich of refusing to set up polling places at 80 locations in peripheral towns, kibbutzim, moshavim and Arab villages because she was afraid their residents would support him.
The court called such claims “completely baseless,” noting that there will be more polling stations for the Labor leadership race than there were in the vote for Labor’s Knesset candidates list last year. There will be 120 polling stations in 79 sites across the country.
Party secretary-general Hilik Bar said there were Labor members in more than 1,000 municipalities, so it was impossible to put a polling station in every town. But he said 74 percent of Labor members would vote within 5 kilometers of home and free transportation would be provided to those who lived farthest from polling stations.
Unlike in past races, Labor members will be able to vote in any polling station nationwide, not just in their own municipalities.
In an effort to discourage electoral fraud, the votes will not be counted by polling station personnel.
Herzog’s spokesman responded that the internal court was controlled by Yacimovich supporters.
He said Herzog would appeal to the Tel Aviv District Court.
Yacimovich claims that, based on her campaign’s canvassing of more than 40,000 Labor members, she holds a 22% lead over Herzog, but his campaign says the race is much closer.
Polls of Labor voters and the general public find that while the former overwhelmingly prefer Yacimovich, the latter want Herzog to win. For instance, in a poll broadcast Thursday on Nissim Mishal’s program on Channel 2, Labor voters backed Yacimovich 64.4 % - 35.6% but the general public preferred Herzog 54.3 % - 45.7%.
Herzog wrote on Facebook that the numbers proved that he could return hundreds of thousands of former Labor members who defected to Yesh Atid, Meretz and Kadima. He also noted that a Panels poll broadcast on the Knesset channel predicted that Yesh Atid and Hatnua would lose 10 seats but Labor would not gain more than one.